RICHMOND — Veteran safety Ryan Clark was among the ailing players who returned to the practice field Monday, one day after first-year Redskins Coach Jay Gruden addressed the challenge of evaluating promising players who can’t stay healthy.
Gruden was referring to safety Phillip Thomas and running back Chris Thompson; whether others took note is an open question.
But Clark, 34, who has sat out with a strained right hamstring since Aug. 5, was among the first to trot onto the field Monday. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall was back in the mix in limited fashion after taking a hard fall on his back Sunday and being carted off for treatment. Starting wide receivers DeSean Jackson (foot) and Pierre Garcon (hamstring), both of whom missed Thursday’s preseason opener with ailments, also took part. And linebacker Brian Orakpo bounced back from the bruised thigh that sidelined him Sunday.
“It felt good,” Clark said. “Still a little sore, but just got to get back in [the] groove of it. If you can go enough to where you can at least practice a little bit, it’s good to be out there with the guys. Good to just get around and keep kind of building that chemistry we’re trying to build.”
Clark said he hopes to play in Monday’s preseason game against Cleveland, in which both teams’ starters are expected to play more.
“Playing in the first one wasn’t that big to me,” said Clark, who sat out the New England game with the ailing hamstring. “But this is a game where we’ll get more reps. I’ll also get an opportunity to play against somebody like Johnny Manziel, getting to work against a running quarterback that’s going to put some stress on the D. If at all possible, I’d like to be out there.”
With second-year safety Baccari Rambo filling his spot in the starting lineup the last few days, Clark has spent time talking to the latest addition to the unit’s ranks, free agent Da’mon Cromartie-Smith, who has the physique of a tight end or small linebacker.
“The thing I’ve been preaching to everybody: He’s a hitter,” Clark said of Cromartie-Smith, his former teammate at Pittsburgh. “He’s a guy that can help us on special teams. He’s a guy we can plug in and play right now in that phase of the game. I’m excited to have him here.”